A publicly traded Israeli weapons company, operating in a wide range of areas including, aerospace, land and naval systems, command, control, communication, computers, intelligence and surveillance. The company also provides a range of support services.
Elbit is Israel’s biggest military and arms company. The company has a tightly-knit relationship with the Israeli security apparatus for whom it provides services and develops extensive technology, equipment and platforms deployed in varying fields.
Products and Services to the Israeli Military
The company provides a wide range of services and products to the Israeli military. In 2021, 18% of Elbit’s revenues were generated from contracts with the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) in the aggregate amount of US$ 916.5 million.
The range of offered products and services increased with the company’s purchase of the previously state-owned company Israeli Military Industries Ltd. (IMI) in 2018. IMI manufactures and supplies the Israeli military with a wide range of weapons, munitions, missiles, tanks and military technology.
In January 2023, Elbit Systems announced it was awarded a $180 million contract from the IMOD to provide, operate and maintain the new Mission Training Center for the Israeli Air Force’s F-16 fleet. The contract also includes the upgrade of an existing Mission Training Center. The new center will include ten advanced simulators, accurate weapon simulation and Elbit’s arena generator, that enable simulation battlefield environments, with the aim to improve the quality of aircrew training and double the number of training sorties for the IAF’s F-16 and F-15 aircrew. The contract will be delivered over a three-year period with an additional fifteen year period that will include operation and maintenance services.
Also in January 2023, Elbit Systems announced it was awarded a US$ 107 Million contract from the IMOD to provide, operate and maintain new advanced armor Main Battle Tank (MBT) simulation and training centers of the Israeli military Armored Corps. The new training centers will train commanders and soldiers of the Armored Corps of both regular and reserve units. The centers will be delivered over a three-year period and the contract includes operation and maintenance services for an additional period of fifteen years.
In September 2021, hand grenades first manufactured by IMI and then developed by Elbit Systems were used by the Israeli military in successive incursions in the occupied West Bank, particularly in and around the city of Jenin. These left over 4 people dead, including minors.
In addition, the Israeli military, similar to other armies around the world, strives to reduce direct friction during military operations and increase the integration of remote warfare. Elbit Systems is a main supplier of such products, including lethal and intelligence gathering robots, drones/UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), targeted mortar ammunition, surveillance systems and more. For example, one of Elbit’s latest developments supplied to the Israeli military is a laser and GPS guided mortar munition called “Iron String”. In August 2021, Elbit was awarded an IMOD contract worth US$ 125 million for the development of a new automatic cannon. In the same year, the IMOD ordered equipment from Elbit for the Merkava and other tanks used by the military in its operations worth NIS 170 million. In January 2020, the company was awarded a US$ 144 million IMOD contract for the supply of ammunition.
Previously, Elbit won a tender to supply the IMOD with its ELSAT 2100 communication systems that can be installed on moving vehicles and systems. In 2015, the company secured an 11-year contract worth US$ 90 million for the maintenance of the Israeli army’s F-16 Jets.
Elbit is a major supplier of armed and non-armed UAV’s to the Israeli military. Elbit supplies two of the three UAVs used by the Israeli military for attack purposes, the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900, both of which are widely used.
Israeli media reported that Elbit drones were in use and the company’s personnel were part of the operation room of a special drones unit deployed during Israel’s 11-day onslaught against Gaza in May 2021 which left 248 people dead and over 1,900 injured. Drones manufactured by Elbit were used in coordination with mortars and ground-based missiles to strike dozens of targets miles away from the border, reportedly.
According to news reports, Elbit drones were in use and new artificial intelligence capabilities were put in practice as part of a new military unit. The unit operated fleets of drones that inspect and collect intelligence and another that would attack targets based on the collected information. According to an interview with an Israeli military General from June 2021: “We operated day and night in cooperation with unit 9900, Elbit, the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure … to perfect the system. We carried out more than 30 operations”. The use of these artificial intelligence capabilities led the military to declare the onslaught on Gaza as the world’s “first AI war”.
During Israel’s deadly attack on Gaza in 2014, Elbit’s 7.5 Skylark, an intelligence-gathering drone, operational in the Israeli military since 2008, and its lethal UAV, the Hermes 900, were used. The Hermes 900 is used both for intelligence purposes and for air strikes using guided missiles. The Hermes 900 can stay aloft for up to 24 hours at altitudes of up 18,000 feet and has an array of optical, infrared, and laser sensors that allow the operator to identify and track targets as well as to guide munitions in flight. The UAV carries two Spike-MR missiles, produced by the Israeli weapon technology company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
In July 2022, the Israeli military confirmed the use of attack drones by the Israeli military as part of its operational activities in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli media routinely reports the crashing of Elbit’s Skylark UAV during intelligence-gathering operations in Gaza. The anxiety-inducing buzzing of Israeli military UAVs has become a permanent soundtrack to the lives of Palestinians in Gaza.
In addition, Elbit’s most famous UAVs the Skylark is used during military operations and house arrest in the occupied West Bank. The Skylark was used during the so-called “Brothers Come Home” Israeli attacks in June and July 2014, where scores of Palestinian civilians were arbitrarily arrested.
Elbit drones have also been used in Israeli military attacks on sites in Syria and Lebanon. In February 2021, Israeli media outlets reported that Elbit’s Hermes 450 was in use as part of Israel’s attacks on targets in Syria.
Elbit Systems has been one of the main providers of the electronic detection fence system to the Apartheid Wall in the occupied West Bank. The company established the electronic fence along about 25 km around East Jerusalem, cutting off Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents from the West Bank, as part of a US$ 5 million contract for the IMOD.
Elbit, in cooperation with the Israeli military, developed a tunnel detection system installed as part of the matrix of technologies used to keep over 2 million Palestinians besieged under Israeli blockade in Gaza.
The company was also the main contractor for the development of a sensor system for the Israeli military as part of the technological measures of the "smart border" established around the fences surrounding Gaza.
Services to the Israeli police and Ministry of Interior
Elbit System is a major supplier to the Israeli police. Its contracts with the Israeli Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the police include a 3-year NIS 350,000 contract for the supply and maintenance of blocking systems to the Israeli police signed in 2019. In 2015, Elbit was awarded a 20-year UD$ 115 million contract for the purchase and adaptation of helicopters for the Israeli police.
Furthermore, the company is a major supplier of technology and developer of data collection systems. In December 2019 Elbit System was contracted by the Israeli MOI to develop, maintain and operate its Rotem-Reut movement database system. Rotem is a registration and control database deployed at Israel’s international borders. Reut is a data registration and control system deployed at Israeli checkpoints and is used to monitor the movement of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. In 2020, Elbit secured another contract with the Israeli MOI for the upgrade of the Rotem-Reut database system.
Moreover, as part of the Israeli government’s “digital acceleration” plan outlined in Resolution No. 260, Elbit Systems along with IBM have been awarded a number of contracts to digitalize services and data storing. These include a NIS 18 million contract awarded to the companies in December 2020 for the development of the E-VISA project (Marom in Hebrew). E-Visa is an online platform for visa applications. The project includes a “pre-passenger arrival data” collection system that is to be developed by Elbit Systems.
Ramat Beka Military Industrial Zone in the Naqab
In 2018, Elbit Systems bought the Israeli government company IMI System Ltd. for NIS 1.8 billion. The struck deal stipulated that Elbit will be fully refunded once IMI’s facilities are relocated from Ramat Hasharon city in the center of Israel to Ramat Beka in the Naqab region, which is expected to be completed at the end of 2023.
Once expanded, the facility is set to include an industrial area for private security companies, and a weapon testing facility. Once completed, the special industrial zone will expropriate 112,383 dunams of land, an area more than double the size of Israel’s main city of Tel Aviv.
The Ramat Beka industrial zone has been used by IMI as a testing facility since the 1960s, in total disregard of the presence of the Palestinian Bedouin villages of Abu Qrinat/Umm Mitnan, Wadi Al-mshash, Wadi Al-na’am, Abu Tlul, and Swawin in the area.
The planned expansion rests on the mass forced displacement of thousands of the area’s Palestinian residents. Some 2,113 buildings, including 1,200 homes, are slated for demolition, and strict construction and development restrictions in the area will limit the development of the villages. Those who manage to remain will face further environmental, health and life risks.
In March 2020, Elbit Systems signed a 5-year contract worth NIS 60 million with the Baran Group, for the purpose of planning, managing, and supervising the implementation of the project.
For more on Development & Military Projects in the Naqab see Who Profits’ interactive map: Tools of Dispossession in the Naqab.
Diversification of product offering and profit from repression
Previous research by Who Profits showed how Elbit Systems is increasing its profits by diversifying its product offering. In particular, our report For Medicinal Purposes: The Israeli Military Sector and the Coronavirus Crisis tracked how the company is transferring knowledge acquired through years of developing mechanisms of repression to the medical sector.
The company also utilizes its relationship with the Israeli military as a marketing tool and a testing ground for its technology. The company often markets its products as “Battle-proven” technology, systems and products.
The company is a global supplier of products and services, including to the militaries of Poland, Romania, Finland, Sweden, UK, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Thailand, Switzerland, UAE, Kazakhstan, Greece, Myanmar, India and Rwanda.
Elbit is also a supplier of equipment and technology to police forces, including the Spanish state and the German police and cyber intelligence system to the Dutch National Police.
Settlement and checkpoints
The company manufactures and assembles its systems and products at its operational facilities in Israel, the US, Europe, Brazil, India and Australia. In April 2018, the company opened an office in Germany.